Fire Construction Work And Handicraft
Cooking Altar (23). A cooking altar, or elevated fireplace, will be found
convenient in a permanent camp or on a regular hiking ground for either cooking
or the night council fire.
Notch and lay logs in log cabin fashion to the height desired for the top
of the altar. Fill this in with stones and earth, or lay small green sticks
across the top logs and cover them with small stones, earth or sod. For a more
permanent fireplace, the top may be covered with cement or sheet metal.
Any type of fireplace may be erected on top of the altar. The one illustrated
is a stone modification of the trapper fire. The swinging pot-hanger in the rear
is described in detail in Swinging Crane No.
Durable Woods. Select for foundation logs heavy pieces of durable wood, such
as catalpa, red cedar, cherry, cypress, butternut, locust, sassafras, white oak,
1. How would you build a cooking altar without logs?
2. What other kind of pot-hangers would be good?
3. Could you interest a group in erecting a permanent cooking altar in a
public park as a community good turn?
4. How do you account for the fact that people rarely use natural altars such
Cooking Altar Altar with Crane
Camp Fire Altar (24). For an all-summer camp it is advisable to build an
elevated fireplace in the center of the council ring, similar to the Cooking
Altar No. 23.
Drive a metal pipe into the center of the altar so that it projects a foot or more. Fasten to the top of the pipe a metal cross
or a metal wheel in a horizontal position. This arrangement holds the firewood in wigwam shape, permitting
an unobserved high flame, so that a comparatively small fire will illuminate a
large circle. Camp fire games and challenges can then be conducted without
danger of the players falling into the fire.
Permanent Camp Fire Altar
1. What kind of a fire would you build for a council ring in cold weather, to
produce both heat and light?
2. Why do many camp directors light camp fires without matches and with
3. Do you prefer a log cabin method for holding the firewood in position to
the metal structure above?
Single-Stick Pot-Hangers (25). A single-stick pot-hanger, also called a
saster, wambeck, or spygelia, is generally used when a single kettle or pot is
to be hung over an open fire.
Hanger No. 1. The end of this hanger is pointed and driven into the ground.
The log that supports it may be placed in various positions to regulate the
height of the pail.
Hanger No. 2. This model is especially recommended for use upon stone or very
hard ground, where it would be difficult to drive a stick.
Hanger No. 3. This is the rustic type of hanger most often illustrated, but
unfortunately it is the least economical because three forked sticks are required to make it.
Hanger No. 4. This model, made without forked sticks, illustrates a
modification of No. 3. The combination of a split stick with a straight stick
driven in front of it is substituted for the forked upright. The hanger is
secured to the ground by driving, at an angle, a straight stick on each side of
1. On which side of the firs with reference to the wind should the hanger be
2. Which hanger can be most easily raised or lowered?
3. Which of the hangers do you prefer? Why?
4. How would you hang your pot if you built your fire at the base of a steep
Camp Crane (26). A camp crane should be used when more than one pot is to be
hung over an open fire. Select for the cross-stick, also called lug-pole or
lug-stick, a piece of stiff green wood about as thick as a broomstick. Forked
sticks are usually illustrated for uprights in spite of the fact that they cause
unnecessary destruction of wood, and are difficult to drive. Straight split
sticks answer the purpose just as well as the usual forked sticks. The
construction: on the right illustrates a method of using a split lug-pole, while
the one on the left illustrates a split upright. The insert shows how seasoned
wood that splits easily may be used for split uprights. The pail No. 1 is hung
over the end of a long pole which is simply placed on the cross-stick, without
being driven into the ground. No. 3 illustrates an excellent method of
improvising a double boiler.
Woods Difficult to Split. The following woods are good for the cleft sticks-
because they do not split readily, especially when green: buckeye, elm, gum, cherry, maple, tupelo,
hemlock, locust, sycamore. Saplings do not split as easily as mature branches.
Camp Crane or Trammel
1. How would you drive a forked upright?
2. Would you object to the "citified" method of driving nails into
the uprights and laying the lug-pole across them?
3. Would you split and cut the uprights to shape before or after driving
4. Would you recommend a metal crane for a permanent camp?
Pothooks (27). The "Pothooks or Pot-Claws"
photograph below illustrates a close-up view of the
pothooks shown in use in the Camp Crane No. 26. Pothooks are known by many names
including pot-claws, pot-chips, gib-crooks, gallows-crooks, and hakes.
Pothooks or Pot-Claws
Pothook No. 1. The first pothook has much to recommend it because it is made
without the use of a forked stick. To make it, select a stick of the length required, bore holes
with a scout knife at each end at an angle, as illustrated, and fit wooden pegs
into these holes. Is there any objection to substituting nails for pegs?
Pothook No. 2. Notice that the hook and notch are on the same side of the
main stick. This is often made with a notch cut on the other side similar to No.
4. Which do you think is better?
Pothook No. 3. The upper part of this is made by drilling a hole through the
main stick and passing through it the end, which is shaved down to the bark. A
split may be used instead of a hole if you have no borer on your knife.
Pothook No. 4. This is made by cutting two forked sticks, as illustrated, and
nailing or lashing them together with a piece of bark, root, or wire. This is an interesting piece of
handicraft but ha3 little to recommend it as a pothook.
Pothook No. 5. This is an excellent form of pothook that may be used for
hanging a pot at different heights. It is illustrated in use in Camp Crane No.
26 for hanging a double boiler.
1. Which of these pothooks do you prefer? Why?
2. Do you object to the use of manufactured metal chain hangers?
3. Would you advise doing away with rustic pothooks and substituting for them
straight sticks with nails driven into them?
Rustic Broilers (28). These fascinating pieces of handicraft may be used
repeatedly if they are made from stout branches, and the broiling or toasting is done over a bed of
embers without flame.
Rustic Broilers or Toasters
Broiler No. 1. Split the, stem below the fork or bore a small hole through it
at an angle, as illustrated. Bend the end of the branch and cut it to a size
that will fit tightly into the hole in the main stem. Weave cross-sticks, at
least as thick as a lead pencil, alternately over and under the central stem.
Broiler No. 2. This is made without the use of a forked branch. The bent
stick may be secured either by lashing, as illustrated, or by the method
described for broiler No. 1.
Broiler No. 3. This can be made without difficulty if you are fortunate
enough to find a branch forked just right.
Broiler No. 4. This simple broiler serves the purpose as well as any of the
Broiler No. 5. This is more substantial than any of the others and is
preferable if a double forked branch can be found.
Broiler No. 6. This illustrates No. 5 reinforced.
Broiler Woods. Great care should be taken in selecting woods for making
broilers. They must bend without breaking, must not taste bitter, and must not
burn below the broiling temperature. The following are recommended: ash, beech, elm, iron-wood, maple, sassafras, sweet gum.
Avoid poisonous woods including: laurel, poison ivy, poison oak, poison
sumac, and rhododendron. The tannic acid in most of the nut and acorn bearing
trees tends to make the meat taste bitter. Beech and hickory, however, seem to be exceptions.
Rustic Swinging Crane (29). This is a useful and interesting woodcraft
project for a permanent fireplace. Secure a straight stick for the upright and
(if you are lucky enough to find it) a double forked branch for the swinging
arm. Nail or lash a piece of tin or tough bark to the end of the forked branch.
After the upright is driven, cut a notch completely around it to fit the fork of
the swinging arm.
Lashing Material. Lashing may be made from bark, rootlets, branches, vines,
grasses, and hemp. Both the bark and withes (flexible slender twigs or branches)
of smooth-barked trees that peel easily, may be used. Small trailing rootlets of
the following trees are good: cedar, cottonwood, hemlock, fir, spruce, tamarack.
The beaten inner fibrous bark of the following trees was used by Indians:
basswood, buckeye, cedar, elm, hickory, locust, leatherwood, mulberry, osage-orange,
white oak. Remember : lash with a clove hitch.
1. How would you make the lower end of the swinging arm if you could not find
a properly forked branch?
2. Could you make a practical swinging crane from straight sticks only?
Rustic Swinging Crane
3. Could you use pipes and pipe fittings to make a swinging crane for a
Iceless Refrigerators (30). The construction of iceless refrigerators appeals
to boys and girls on overnight trips.
Refrigerator No. 1
Refrigerator No. 1. This is the simplest refrigerator possible when, a stream
of water is available. The food is stored on stones placed in the water. The top
should be closed to keep out animals.
Refrigerator No. 2
Refrigerator No. 2. When water is not available, dig a hole, line it, and
close it in, as illustrated.
Refrigerator No. 3
Refrigerator No. 3. When time permits and the necessary materials are
available, an excellent box refrigerator can be made. Cover an empty box with a
wet burlap bag, or with canvas. If this is kept moist constantly, the
evaporation of the moisture will keep cool foods stored within the box. Keep the
burlap moist by the use of wicking, as illustrated; or better still, hang a
perforated old tin can over the box and occasionally fill it with water.